Sunday, 23 October 2011

Uh Oh... Another Shark Attack.

By Ryan Pearson



A Grey Nurse Shark. One of my 'friends' at Sth Solitary Island. Photo: Ryan Pearson
Like everyone out there, no matter their stance on sharks, I hate hearing about this new attack. This is horrific news, but it’s horrific news on both sides of the argument. Not only for the poor guy that was taken, his family, dive buddies, and friends, but also for all the sharks in W.A. waters. This ‘piece of journalism’ is filled with so much propaganda and lies that it's no wonder people are scared of sharks.

This story talks of “reports from fishermen that shark numbers had increased significantly”… interesting, considering reports from all over the world have shark numbers at the lowest they’ve ever been. A figure stating shark numbers are at only 1-5% of their former population is commonly thrown around, but of course the fishermen are going to say the numbers are on the rise. They make their livelihood on catching sharks, and saying they’re being wiped out isn’t going to get them permission to continue plying their trade. The problem is, that apart from seasonal fluctuations (where there are probably a large percentage of the sharks currently following the snapper spawning and/or whale migration up the WA coast), there’s pretty much no way this could be true. 

The knee-jerk reactions that are being suggested in this ‘article’ are no good for anyone. Firstly, apart from the fact that there’s no way to be sure which shark was the culprit, the methods suggested are proven to be ineffective.

Shark nets? Come on… we ALL know these do nothing to protect beaches, and all they achieve is the killing of thousands of marine animals with no ‘net’ benefit (excuse the pun) whatsoever. They don’t even go to the bottom! The thing is, most of the animals that get caught in the nets, are caught on the inside. There are lots of stats on shark nets that I won’t go into, but one basic figure that I saw in the latest Sarah Shark episode uses the Gold Coast as an example. Looking at data from 1905 to today (with shark nets being introduced on the Gold Coast in 1962), there have been more attacks, more often, since the nets were introduced. If you want the exact numbers, I suggest you watch Sarah Shark episode two.

Increasing the catch allowance? Are you mad!? Most species of shark are nearly extinct! We should be reducing catch numbers, not increasing them. I seriously can’t even bring myself to argue the stupidity of this idea. There are many consequences to humans if we wipe out sharks that could result in the deaths of many more than one of us. Not all of these can be predicted, so we should act now to prevent them!

The simple fact is that the death of one man is going to result in the slaughter of hundreds, or thousands of innocent sharks, and maybe even thousands of other ‘cuter’ marine creatures. It’s a sad situation on all sides, but at the same time I understand the government has to be seen to be protecting the people. The thing is, for the greater good, there has to be a different solution. This probably isn’t it but it’s an idea… why don’t we try bringing the drum lines closer to shore and hanging shark shield’s from them instead of hooks and bait? It would go some way to repelling sharks, rather than encouraging them to come closer, and avoid the accidental killing of any marine animals. I know, there’s probably a lot of flaws in this approach, but it seems a much more logical approach to me.

Finally, I’d like to take this opportunity to state that if I’m ever the unfortunate victim of a shark ‘attack’ (a 'feeler' as I like to call them), I do not want it hunted down. In fact, I do not want any reaction whatsoever other than an obituary in the paper stating ‘He went out doing what he loved and died amongst friends, some of whom occasionally liked to play rough.’

It's also sad that this had to happen when Project Aware and many others are trying to raise awareness for the plight of sharks with The Big Shark Shout Out.

Click here to sign a petition against the cull!

3 comments:

Sarah Richmond said...

Well said Pearson

matt currie said...

Finally, I’d like to take this opportunity to state that if I’m ever the unfortunate victim of a shark ‘attack’ (a 'feeler' as I like to call them), I do not want it hunted down. In fact, I do not want any reaction whatsoever other than an obituary in the paper stating ‘He went out doing what he loved and died amongst friends, some of whom occasionally liked to play rough.’


agree whole heartedly

fieldo85 said...

I agree, Shark numbers are not increasing, but dumb bogan miner (ie bait) numbers are. We need to stop bogans acting like bait; not kill sharks in their endemic environment.